Children in Palestine face various protection risks in general, but during #COVID19 pandemic, some of the risks have increased, such as physical and emotional maltreatment due to reduced supervision and neglect of children because of lockdown and schools closures, illness, and the isolation of caregivers in quarantine centers; the increase in child abuse and domestic violence because of psychosocial distress among caregivers and community members; gender-based violence materialized in increased risk of adolescent's suicide attempts, harassment and cyber extortion; vulnerability and enhanced risks for children or caregivers with disabilities and/or chronic diseases; the distress of children, due to the death, illness, or separation of a loved one or fear of death; and the lack of access to mental health and psycho-social support services.
Our studies on our communities have shown that 85% of adolescents reported experiencing physical violence and/or psychological aggression in the past 12 months. 65% of boys and 37% of girls reported experiencing physical punishment. 92.5% of parents reported using physical punishment and/or psychological aggression in the past month. 82% of parents believe that punishment is necessary to bring up a child properly. 45% of parents acknowledge that for bad behavior, they may subject a child to physical punishment.*
In its attempt to reduce this issue, World Vision Jerusalem – West Bank – Gaza (JWG) has acted quickly on more than one level. Through working with the Ministry of Social Development (MoSD), the reporting and case management guide was adapted to be suitable with the emergency instructions and current pandemic situation. World Vision JWG and MoSD are also working to train Child Protection Networks counselors and coordinators on the guide and provide them with personal protective equipment to help them do their duty towards children without the risk of getting infected with #coronavirus. In addition to that, World Vision JWG has continued to provide online sessions for families on positive parenting in order to reduce violent methods of raising children and to alleviate the pressure on mothers during COVID-19. "One of the training sessions talk about beating children while stressed out. This made us rethink our method in raising our children. There is no reason for us to beat them whatever they do. It is better for us to live this one life we have in love and harmony with our family," said Tahreer from Nablus.
Moreover, World Vision JWG, in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, has targeted the Unified Student Parliament and Child Protection and Advocacy committees through training them on topics such as first psychological aid, peer support, advocacy and educational video production to carry out their role in conveying messages about child protection and rights to their peers and colleagues and their communities in general. These trainings aim to build children's capabilities and spread awareness among them about child protection and rights.
*As of May 30th
Learn more about and/or support World Vision’s global work to limit the spread of COVID-19 and support the children impacted by it on our COVID-19 Emergency Response Page.